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Shadowing the White Man's BurdenU.S. Imperialism and the Problem of the Color Line$
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Gretchen Murphy

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814795989

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814795989.001.0001

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Pauline Hopkins’s “International Policy”

Pauline Hopkins’s “International Policy”

Cosmopolitan Perspective at the Colored American Magazine

(p.121) 4 Pauline Hopkins’s “International Policy”
Shadowing the White Man's Burden

Gretchen Murphy

NYU Press

This chapter explores the critical debate about Pauline Hopkins' contradictory relationship to imperialism in her work by arguing that her characterization of Reuel Briggs in Africa in the serially published novel Of One Blood, Or, The Hidden Self (1902–3) self-consciously echoes and signifies ambivalent constructions of black cosmopolitanism found in the Colored American Magazine (CAM). Drawing on Hopkins' correspondence about her published works in the magazine that she adapted for her portrayal of Reuel, it contends that that Hopkins' story about a racially ambiguous figure shadowing the white man's burden both symptomizes and diagnoses the magazine's uneasy linkage between African American uplift and U.S. global power. By placing Hopkins' novel in this textual and historical context, the chapter proposes not to resolve the question of Hopkins' conflicted relationship to imperialism but to demonstrate that she self-consciously identified this conflict when she pieced together Reuel's perspectives.

Keywords:   Pauline Hopkins, imperialism, Reuel Briggs, Africa, black cosmopolitanism, Colored American Magazine, white man's burden, U.S. global power

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